Philosophical Perspectives on Computer-Mediated Communication

Edited by Charles Ess
Introduction by Charles Ess

Subjects: Ethics
Series: SUNY series in Computer-Mediated Communication
Paperback : 9780791428726, 328 pages, February 1996
Hardcover : 9780791428719, 328 pages, February 1996

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Table of contents


Introduction: Thoughts along the I-Way: Philosophy and the Emergence of CMC

Charles Ess

I. Epistemology and Semiotics

1.   Discourse across Links

David Kolb

2.   Mediated Phosphor Dots: Toward a Post-Cartesian Model of CMC via the Semiotic Superhighway

Gary Shank and Donald Cunningham

II. Ethics, Gender, and Politics

3.   Privacy, Respect for Persons, and Risk

Dag Elgesem

4.   Pseudonyms, MailBots, and Virtual Letterheads: The Evolution of Computer-Mediated Ethics

Peter Danielson

5.   Intellectual Property Futures: The Paper Club and the Digital Commons

John Lawrence

6.   Posting in a Different Voice: Gender and Ethics in CMC

Susan Herring

7.   "This Is Not Our Fathers' Pornography": Sex, Lies, and Computers

Carol J. Adams

8.   Power Online: A Poststructuralist Perspective on CMC

Sunh-Hee Yoon

9.   The Political Computer: Democracy, CMC, and Habermas

Charles Ess

III. Impacts and Implications for Religious Authority, Communities, and Beliefs

10. The Unknown God of the Internet: Religious Communication from the Ancient Agora to the Virtual Forum

Stephen D. O'Leary and Brenda E. Brasher

11. Sacred Text in the Sea of Texts: The Bible in North American Electronic Culture

Phil Mullins




The rush to the Information Superhighway and the transition to an Information Age have enormous political, ethical, and religious consequences. The essays collected here develop both interdisciplinary and international perspectives on privacy, critical thinking and literacy, democratization, gender, religion, and the very nature of the revolution promised in cyberspace. These essays are essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand and reflect upon these events and issues.

Charles Ess is Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Drury College.


"It is timely and offers a unique and, at times, profound interpretation of Computer Mediated Communication. It is an important philosophical discussion of the 'Internet. '" — Robert Cavalier, Carnegie Mellon University

"The essays that make up this interesting book do a good job surveying some of the central philosophical, moral, and political issues involved in hypertext, networked communication, and other aspects of the new, and increasingly important, digital textuality. " — George Landow, Brown University